It started as a step toward his Eagle Scout rank, but volunteering at Integrity Hospice in Lee’s Summit has becaome part of a normal week for Carter Davis. Recently, the Missouri Hospice and Palliative Care Association took notice of his dedication, awarding him their statewide Heart of Hospice award for administrative volunteers.
Carter, a student at Lee’s Summit North High School, is the first person under 18 to receive the award.
“It’s his willingness to do anything that is asked and to do it well, without a lot of supervision, that makes him a good volunteer,” said Susan Menzie, volunteer coordinator at Integrity.
Menzie has nominated other volunteers in the past, but Carter is the first of her nominations to win.
When he joined Integrity in the fall, he just needed to do eight hours of community service to meet the requirement he needed to fulfill for Boy Scouts.
“After the eight hours, the volunteer coordinator Susan .... asked if I was planning on staying around or stopping. I said I’d said I’d stick around. I’d always been raised (with the idea of), ‘Why not help out if you can?’” Carter said.
It’s that commitment that got him the award. Menzie said another thing that impressed her is that he’s there every week for two hours, even when he has to rearrange his volunteer time to fit around athletic practices.
“It was pretty amazing. You don’t see many teenagers that hang out in a hospice. It says a lot about his character, I think,” said Jane Moore, CEO of the Missouri Hospice and Palliative Care Association.
Although he doesn’t travel to the patients’ homes to provide in-person support, the office work he does takes pressure off of Integrity’s staff so they have more time to handle the complex issues of hospice work.
That means doing everything from making sure printed materials are ready to distribute to new volunteers or families of patients, to making goodie bags or cards to give to patients on various holidays. More recently, he’s been helping reorganize the filing system for volunteer information.
“He’s in the middle of doing all my chart audits. There is not anybody else I would trust to do that,” Menzie said. “It frees up so much time. He’s gone through all the volunteer files to make sure they’re up on training. He does reference checks for new volunteers and he assembles all of our admissions packets. They’re always ready to go for the admission nurse.”
Carter has gone through the same training as patient-care volunteers, so he’s is ready to fill in if someone needs a substitute.
“It really makes me feel happy just to think I am helping,” Carter said. “Even if I’m not directly helping with patients in the hospice program, I’m doing book work so they don’t have to worry about it.”